Tennessee Will Not Prosecute Insurance Company Fraud In Workers Comp

After learning of life threatening problems in Workers Comp cases I purchased a tape recorder for my telephone and recorded conversations with two State of Tennessee Workers Comp employees who said many employers break laws so they can illegally deny paid medical treatment to injured workers.

One State employee told me that injured workers often lose all hope as their Workers Comp benefits are illegally blocked.

One Workers Comp employee said businesses will even tell injured workers to file under Tenn Care medicaid instead of filing a Workers Comp claim.

During this time of widespread employer crime in Workers Comp cases the State of Tennessee totally denied injured workers the right to equal protection under the laws.

This is proven by the fact that in the 9 years the TBI Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit (WCFU) existed, they never convicted even one of the employers who illegally deny medical treatment to injured workers.

This Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit’s staff of 11 convicted over 20 employees during this time of zero employer convictions. The T.B.I. even had a press release web link that had 18 pages that listed the workers who were convicted and the fines and jail time they received.

When I discovered there were zero business convictions listed on the T.B.I. WCFU’s Press Release web pages I published a summary and handed out over a thousand copies at the State Capitol. These Press Release web pages became unavailable a few days after I distributed these summaries.

The word trash was put in the web page link address of all 18 pages that promoted the convictions of workers. This made it impossible to access any of the web pages that showed worker convictions but no employer convictions. Here is an example of one of the 18 web page link addresses that became unavailable. Please note the word trash that is seen to the left of middle in internet addresses :


The T.B.I.’s Karen Alexander said the removal of all of the web pages was an unfortunate coincidence. A professional web designer told me the removal of these pages appeared intentional based on the use of the word trash in all of the addresses that suddenly became unavailable.

I continued to challenge the T.B.I.’s failure to post employer convictions on their press release web pages. Here is an exact quote from a letter I received from the T.B.I.'s Karen Alexander :

" The other question that you asked is why there are only press releases on employees who have been prosecuted. So far, only employees have been successfully prosecuted."

On July 16th 2002 when this letter was written the TBI Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit staff of 11 had been operating for 8 years with zero employer convictions.

The Tennessee Department of Labor also removed a web page shortly after I published it in the same summary. The web page they removed showed the actual quote from the 1996 Workers Comp Reform Act that proved the Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit is absolutely required to investigate businesses for Workers Comp fraud.

Ms. Nancy Russell is the chief legislative assistant to State Senator Douglas Henry. She told me that the T.B.I. said there had been no business/employer crimes in Workers Comp in 9 years, and that is why there have been zero employer convictions. I asked Ms. Russell who told her that and she said it was confidential.

According to a Report from WTVF NewsChannel 5, forty thousand Tennesseans miss a week of work because of injury. That would be approximately 360,000 cases in 9 years, and it is beyond belief that the TBI expects rational citizens to believe there have been zero business/employer crimes in Workers Comp cases.

Nashville’s WSMV wrote a story about injured worker named Dean Weidener who must be fed through a tube, and he is now paralyzed in Vanderbilt hospital because he was denied the medical treatment that his doctor ordered when he fell through the floor of his employers loading dock. In addition to the report from WSMV, WTVF NewsChannel 5 also did a report on Mr. Weidner and here is an exact quote from this report :

Dean Weidener suffered a stroke a month ago. His wife Theresa said she believes an accident he had on the job two years ago was really to blame for his paralysis.

“The doctors have pretty much said it's related to workman's comp,” she said.

Weidener worked for a trucking company when he fell through a loading dock. Theresa said the company denied a doctor's request to check for herniated discs.

Dean, frozen by back pain and immobile for months, suffered a clot, which is why he's now in a Vanderbilt hospital bed.

“Mainly because of sedentary lifestyle he's had to take on,” Theresa said.

Theresa said the test would have cost the company $4,500. Now Dean’s family faces millions of dollars in medical bills.

In WSMV’s report they announced that a court has just ruled that all Mr. Weidner’s medical bills must be paid by Workers Comp, but just look at all the suffering and destruction that has been caused and may continue for the rest of this paralyzed young man's life because government officials are intentionally allowing heartless businesses to block the right to Workers Comp benefits.

During the WSMV report about Mr. Weidner Governor Bredesen said these exact words, “I’m really trying to make sure that for people who are seriously injured they get all of our support.”

I was sickened by the Governor’s statement because his actions prove this is not true. He is well aware that business crimes in Workers Comp are never prosecuted in Tennessee. I sent Governor Bredesen several certified letters and two of my email addresses were blocked by the State because I sent our legislators so many emails regarding business crimes in Workers Comp.

Governor Bredesen's Press Secretary's statements about me were quoted by multiple media sources regarding my complaints about huge problems in the Workers' Comp system in Tennessee.

It is completely false for Governor Bredesen to say, “I’m really trying to make sure that for people who are seriously injured they get all of our support.”

The Tennessean newspaper mentioned how former Mt. Juliet football player Chris Williams stood before a legislative committee and cried as he recalled how a back injury kept him from lifting his mother from the floor after she had a grand mal seizure. The Tennessean also reported that several workers testified before the House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee and said they were fired after they were injured on the job and applied for benefits.

The T.B.I. Annual Report provides more evidence that the T.B.I. Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit served big business and insurance companies while ignoring citizens rights. These annual reports state that since 1998 the Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit made 94 presentations to insurance companies and businesses across the State to educate them regarding Workers Comp fraud.

They also held additional meetings with insurance companies and businesses including semi monthly meetings. There is absolutely no mention of any kind of educational meetings that teach workers how businesses may illegally fire them if they become injured on the job. There is no mention of how businesses endanger injured workers lives by blocking paid medical treatment for work injuries. A fair public awareness program would also inform workers how businesses commit fraud.

Please notice the following State code requires the implementation of a public awareness program :

50-6-127. Public awareness program concerning workers' compensation fraud - Investigations and referrals.

The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of commerce and insurance and appropriate law enforcement officials, shall implement a public awareness program concerning workers' compensation fraud.

As mentioned the Workers Comp Reform Act of 1996 absolutely required the TBI Special Workers Comp Fraud Unit to investigate all types of Workers Comp Fraud, including employer fraud. Here is additional Tennessee code that proves investigating employer fraud was required :

Tennessee Code 50-6-127 :
“The commissioner of labor and workforce development is authorized to refer an employer to the Tennessee bureau of investigation for investigation and for appropriate referral for possible prosecution if the commissioner becomes aware the employer had prior knowledge that it was subject to the workers' compensation law and the employer failed to secure payment of compensation as required by the workers' compensation law.”

When I first asked the State for help it didn’t take long for me to realize that there was absolutely no chance that a business would ever be convicted for a crime in a Workers Comp case in Tennessee. My first clue was the total lack of employer convictions. Shortly after I made this discovery Governor Sundquist’s Deputy Legal Counsel Kim Beal’s screamed at me on the phone because I persisted in asking why no employer had ever been convicted. I had a potentially fatal cancer in my eye while Ms. Beal’s was screaming at me.

WFAA in Dallas Texas reported that the Texas Workers Comp Commission also had zero convictions of insurance companies'.

When you combine this with the same type of failure in Tennessee it is evident there is a pattern of protection of these life threatening insurance company crimes !!

My eye cancer was covered by a disability policy that was a benefit of my employment and insured by Metlife, but I could not turn my back on the massive insurance company crimes that are destroying so many lives in Workers Comp cases in America and to Contractors who are killed and injured in war zones around the world.

To see how the insurance companies are very organized in their criminal denial of multiple types of injury and disability claims please go to :


Barry Schmittou